John Roberts Is Playing 10 Moves Ahead
Even his court's liberal victories seed long-term defeats
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2013 7:40 AM CDT
Chief Justice John G. Roberts. At 58, he seemingly has a long time to shape his court.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – To a casual observer, the Supreme Court probably looked fairly cautious this term—but that's because John Roberts is playing the long game, Adam Liptak at the New York Times observes. Time and again, the chief justice has convinced the court's liberals to sign onto compromises that hold the seeds to eventual conservative victories. Roberts' opinion this week eviscerating the Voting Rights Act, for instance, drew heavily from a 2009 opinion allowing the same act to stand—which he had gotten eight justices to sign on to.

Roberts was clearly setting up another such shot in this week's affirmative action decision. He did the same in his ObamaCare ruling (click here for our earlier story on how). Roberts' approach stands in contrast to Antonin Scalia's; in their respective DOMA dissents, Scalia complained that the decision doomed single-state gay marriage bans, while Roberts said that was an issue for another day. "If you want to influence future cases, you point out the limited nature of today's holdings," one law professor says. "If you want to gain rhetorical points today, you exaggerate the effects."

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Showing 3 of 19 comments
cornelison
Jun 29, 2013 5:43 AM CDT
It shouldn't be described a conservative victory when the GOP makes it harder to vote. It's a failure to recognize that discrimination in voting rights is still going on today. Every GOP lawmaker knows that he or she is lying when he or she says that this is about voter fraud. It's not. It's about stealing elections and everybody knows it. The ability to steal elections is making Republicans bolder when it comes to rights. Republicans love regulation overkill when it comes to women's health clinics. They'll spend millions on big govt. against women and their base of white males will vote for them no matter what..
Lefty_Libby
Jun 28, 2013 11:50 PM CDT
That's odd. The Supreme Court is not supposed to be about partisan victories. It's supposed to be about interpreting laws in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
ApolitickalExtremist
Jun 28, 2013 1:36 PM CDT
Liberals are like droopy turds, they don't make sense but they are vile and disgusting, they will attack people's character and distort their motive, John Roberts is the last remaining patriot in this country, along with Scalia.